Chris Hastie

Health Service Planner

Westmead and Randwick
Sydney Children’s Hospital   |   
Sydney, Australia

Mastering Communication Program Graduate

“The [Mastering Communication Program] gave me confidence, but also that innate understanding of how we communicate and how…the different nuances really impact our outcomes”

Chris, like many of us, doesn’t find public speaking a particularly easy exercise, but it is a regular part of his role as Health Service Planner at Sydney Children’s Hospital. A committed employee, who wanted to do well, he identified the need to improve his communication skills, so he could achieve his goals and grow within his organisation.

Chris’ frustration prior to the program

Chris role requires him to communicate detailed information about the organisation’s future to different levels of staff and management. “I saw the Mastering Communications Program as an opportunity to expand on my knowledge and skillset” he says.

The solution to helping Chris grow his communication skills

“With my aspirations of leading a large organisation, it’s inevitable that I will have to speak to large groups and very senior and very influential people,” he says. “By doing [this course] early in my career, I can build those foundations and really grow upon them as I advance.”

So what exactly did the program teach him?

Chris says he walked away a lot of practical information he could easily put into practice, but three key things really have stuck with him:

  1. While he’s now more confident, what he really appreciates is the need for story when trying to make a point. “I would have used it prior, but I wouldn’t have relied on it. Where as now, I always open with a strong story, which I use for a case of change or a need for a meeting.”
  2. Hand gestures were another eye opener for Chris. “They can be complementary or contradictory” he says. But the truly valuable thing he learnt was how to use his hands to downplay a conversation going off track before taking it offline. “It’s very helpful to rein in some meetings when need be!”.
  3. Body language was next on his list, saying “if you look bored, everyone else is going to be bored.”

What’s happened since Chris completed the program

Since completing the program, Chris says his colleagues have noticed a big change. “They say the way I present and my style of presentation is really enjoyable, it’s very different to what they’re used to,”. But that’s not the only thing Chris has noticed. He’s now able to get his message through in a way that people understand and in a way that compels action. Plus, his confidence in his own ability has skyrocketed.

“I will always have a level of nerves, but what the course really taught me was to have those foundational elements of communication ready so I can focus on those going into the presentation, which makes me feel less anxious,” he says.

Who does Chris think should do this program?

“Everyone,” he says.

“Anyone who’s taken the opportunity to start thinking about the need to communicate, if you’ve come this far… then it’s definitely something you should do.”
Chris says he’s recommended it to nursing staff to help them communicate more clearly with patients – especially when it comes to body language. And he’s recommended it to non-patient facing staff too. “It’s all adaptable and it’s all highly appropriate,” he says.”

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